Bunch of bananas wrapped in colourful condoms
(C) Love Matters | Rita Lino

Staying Safe

If you go beyond kissing and caressing, it’s important to know how to have safe sex and talk about it with your partner.

This is unsafe

  • Intercourse (the penis inside the vagina) without a condom or another form of contraception such as the pill.
  • Penetrative anal sex (the penis inside the anus) without a condom.
  • Oral sex without a condom for a man or a dental dam (also called a vaginal dam – a square of latex to cover the vagina) for a woman.
  • Using each other’s sex toys without washing them in-between.

This is safe

  • Caressing, tongue kissing, cuddling, massaging, masturbating yourself or your partner.
  • Intercourse (the penis inside the vagina) with a quality approved condom.
  • Intercourse (the penis inside the vagina) with a quality approved condom to prevent infection and another form of contraception such as the pill to be sure of preventing unwanted pregnancy.
  • Oral sex without getting sperm or blood (for example menstrual blood) in your mouth.

Two is better than one

The safest way to have sex is using both a condom and another form of contraception, such as the pill. The condom protects you against many sexually transmitted diseases. The other contraceptive, such as the pill, is to make sure you don’t get pregnant. Because a condom isn’t 100 per cent effective. For more information, see the section on birth control.

Never use two condoms at once though.

What’s in a name – STD or STI?

What's the difference between an STI and an STD? You've got a sexually transmitted infection (STI) when you've been infected by bacteria, viruses, or parasites through having unprotected or unsafe sex. If the infection goes on to cause symptoms, such as unusual discharge from your penis or vagina, you've got a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

Generally speaking, the only difference between an STI and an STD is whether you've got symptoms. Either way, you still have an infection that you can pass on to someone else. To keep things simple, we stick to the term STD at Love Matters.

Different types of STDs and STIs – bacterial, viral and parasitic

  • Bacterial STDs are caused by bacteria: chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis.
  • Viral STDs are caused by a virus: genital warts (human papillomavirus, HPV), genital herpes (herpes simplex HSV-1, HSV-2), water warts (molluscum contagiosum), Hepatitis B, HIV (which causes AIDS).
  • Parasitic STDs are caused by parasites: Trichomoniasis (Trich), pubic lice, scabies.
  • Other infections that make it easier to catch STDs: bacterial vaginosis, candida (yeast infection).

The tricky thing about some STIs is that you can have them without noticing any symptoms, so you don't even realise you have an infection. But if you do have symptoms, it's important to get them checked out by your doctor/health care provider.

In women, the most common symptoms are:

  • Pain when you urinate
  • Pain when you have sex
  • Bleeding in between your periods or when you've had sex
  • Yellow, green, or bloody vaginal discharge
  • Strong vaginal odour
  • Itchy labia, vulva, or pubic hair
  • Anal discharge
  • Bumps, sores, warts, or blisters on the genitals or anus area
  • Abdominal pain

In men, the most common symptoms are:

  • Pain when you urinate
  • Pain when you have sex
  • Discharge from your penis or from your anus
  • Bumps, sores, warts, or blisters in the genital or anus area
  • Pain in one or both testicles

If you have symptoms or think you may have an STD do not ignore it! Make an appointment with the doctor or go to an STD clinic.

Most STDs are easy to cure, especially if you get treated early. If left untreated, some STDs can cause infertility (Chlamydia) or can be fatal (HIV).

Comments
Hi Ramos, that really changes from man to man. The best way to find out is to ask your partner what he likes and enjoys. And watch his body language and expressions-silence isn't good, goose bumps and moaning is. Talk, explore, learn!
Hi Korir, It sounds like you are coming earlier than you would like, this often happens to young men who don't have a lot of sexual experience because they get very aroused very easily. With more sexually experienced men, it might be due to psychological problems, like fear, stress or depression. Generally though go slow, enjoy the buildup of touching and caressing each other. Make time for oral sex during your physical interactions. Take time focusing on your partner as well as yourself. Communicate together about what feels nice, what doesn't and what you would like to try together. Experiment, explore and try new things! Make sure to use lots of lube and switch up the fun. Even if you do orgasm you can take some time to have oral sex with your partner until your body is ready to go again. Change positions and mix it up. Some people say condoms help them last longer, while others may use cock rings (just make sure it is the right size and not too tight!). Generally just remember that sex is more than just penetration and there are lots of ways to enjoy each other. If you are finding that you really cannot maintain an erection then it might be time to see a doctor. There are some medical conditions that can affect your performance but would need to be looked by a professional. You can also keep masturbating, however challenge yourself to last longer. Go slow, feel the way your body changes when you are getting closer to climax. Tease yourself, find tricks that help you delay the finish.
Hi Mokobi, yes! Yes will be in pain, and you, possibly, too, from the friction caused. This skin-on-skin friction can cause wounds and bleeding. And, for her, it will just plainly be very uncomfortable. By the way, sex is for both people's enjoyment. So make sure she is aroused.
Is it possible for a man to know whether his woman had n argasm during sex?.....And, Is it a must a woman gets an orgasm everytym she's having an intercourse?.....And, If it's a must and she doesn't,is there any health problems?..Any help for her? Thnx...
Wow, Lilly, so many questions. Some men will realize when you fake an orgasm, others won't. But: you shouldn't be faking to start with! If you have problems, you need to find a way to have an orgasm. Many women won't come from the in-and-out movement of intercourse, but they need to have their clitoris stimulated instead. And your partner might need to learn this. So help him, and figure out what you need to get satisfied. No, it's not a must to have an orgasm every time. Sometimes, it just won't happen, whatever you try. Don't worry, that's totally normal.
Hi Jane, Most women have trouble having an orgasm without the clitoris being stimulated- and most men don't know this. This has nothing to do with size, as the in-and out movement of sex alone won't get you enough clitoral stimulation. Check out this section to learn more about the clitoris, and have your man stimulate it during foreplay and intercourse: http://lovematters.co.ke/resource/vulva
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